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The Ethical Design Handbook

Over the past 20 years, euphoria has grown for everything we can collect from users. The truth is that most companies have more data stored than they’ll ever use. That’s a bad idea. In addition to the energy and money spent collecting and storing unnecessary data, there is also a security risk and responsibility associated with owning and carrying data on others. With the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), that problem has been expanded with an increased legal responsibility.

Deceptive interfaces have hidden costs in customer service, maintenance, support, return processing fees, and social media backlash. When we design with dark patterns in mind, we usually don’t account for these costs. But we should.

And we’re starting to see a shift in customer and user perception. People are increasingly getting fed up with being tracked, manipulated and downright tricked. There is a growing expectation of transparency, fairness and respect. And the failure to meet these expectations is punished by the law, the press and the people.

So now is a good time to shift to ethical design.

Using ethical design, you can grow a sustainable business in the following ways:

  1. If you treat your audience well, they’ll stay loyal to your brand and your company.
  2. Your conversion rate might go up. When you declutter your interface design, the result is often a higher return on investment. Don't take our word for it. Try a split test and see the result.
  3. Have you heard of GDPR? It’s kind of funny that one of the best arguments for design ethics is a team of lawyers in the EU, but it’s true nonetheless.
  4. Not being subject to a media shitstorm is another compelling argument. Consumers are fed up with the misuse of their data; privacy is important to them, and it’s a growing concern.
  5. It feels better.

Working with ethical design is a lot like navigating inside a labyrinth. There is more than one route to the end goal. It takes a great deal of logical sense. And sometimes you end up in a blind alley and have to find another path to move forward. The Ethical Design Handbook helps you get through the labyrinth.

It is an introduction to the toolbox of ethics for everyone who works with digital products as a designer, developer, product manager, lawyer or in management.